Blog

Softening up an unrealistic defendant

I began trial in a visitation establishment case yesterday. While preparing for trial earlier this week my client (the plaintiff) asked me how I thought the case would end. I informed him it would likely settle halfway into my cross examination of the defendant. I was unduly pessimistic. About 15% of the way into my […]

Ninth time’s the charm

On January 16, 2020 the South Carolina Supreme Court denied certiorari in Moore v. Moore, 427 S.C. 26, 828 S.E.2d 224 (Ct. App. 2019). After eight prior published appeals denying alimony termination based upon allegations of continuing cohabitation, Moore is the first “final” published opinion in which a supporting ex-spouse successfully terminated his alimony on […]

Upcoming custody/visitation CLEs

I will be speaking at two upcoming CLEs (and moderating one) being produced by the South Carolina Bar. Both are devoted to child custody and visitation. Attendance is always appreciated, especially for the one I will be moderating. On January 31, 2020, I will be one of the speakers at the Bar’s annual guardian ad […]

2019 Published Family Court opinions summary

After a couple of years mid-decade in which South Carolina’s appellate courts published only six opinions addressing family law, 2019 produced a more robust set of opinions: eighteen, plus a refiled opinion from late-2018. Many of these opinions were highly consequential. Two Court of Appeals opinions, Singh v. Singh, and Kosciusko v. Parham, held that […]

Court of Appeals reverses equitable estoppel defense to past due child support

Continuing a very recent pattern of appellate courts disregarding the family court’s credibility determinations, the December 31, 2019, Court of Appeals opinion in Bauckman v. McLeod reversed a family court finding of equitable estoppel. In Bauckman, the parties reached a court-approved agreement in 2002 that Father would pay $399 per month in child support. In […]

Reflections on thirty years of marriage

The main thing that differentiates marriages that end in divorce from those that end when death-do-them-part is the sheer stubbornness of the parties involved…. –that and the access or lack thereof to a handy murder weapon. In my twenty-six years practicing family law, I’ve yet to have a marital dissolution case end in murder–although a […]

A second Court of Appeals panel finds family court cannot enforce custody issues decided by arbitration

Argued first but decided second, the December 18, 2019 Court of Appeals opinion in Singh v. Singh confirms what a November 6, 2019 Court of Appeals opinion in Kosciusko v. Parham, 428 S.C. 481, 836 S.E.2d 362 (Ct. App. 2019), previously determined: the family court cannot enforce custody issues decided by arbitration. With no judges […]

Is there a ceiling on alimony or child support?

An issue more philosophical than legal is whether there should be a ceiling on alimony and (especially) child support awards. On one hand, alimony (and to some extent child support) is intended to allow the spouse or child to enjoy a similar lifestyle to a high-income spouse or parent. On the other hand, why should […]

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